the black brothers: one too soft, the other too hardened.
regulus is nine when he first hears sirius fighting with their parents, railing against their tyranny and prejudice and cruelty. the shouting and smashing frighten him, chase him deep under his covers where he cries silent steady tears until sirius slips into his room hours later and coaxes regulus out of his cocoon, whispering soothing loving words of comfort and fierce apology.
regulus is eleven when he enters hogwarts, excited and wide-eyed at the enthusiastic crush of fellow students laughing and reuniting. after his mother warns him of mudbloods and father reminds him, toujours pur, sirius wrestles him into a headlock, dragging him into a compartment where there are three joking boys–gryffindors–who embrace and welcome regulus into their midst. when regulus sorts slytherin, he glances over at the sea of red and gold, but sirius looks away disappointed, mouth grim, eyes closed, to the beat of regulus’s sinking heart.
regulus is sixteen when he joins the death eaters, swears allegiance to a charismatic lord and band of idealistic brothers. they speak of purity, of justice, of oppression–all familiar cadences to pureblood son regulus–eliminating blood traitors and rewarding the worthy. he is swept up in visions of glory and familial pride, approving mothers and fathers and brothers.
regulus is eighteen when he stands on the edge of a precipice, hands shaking as he drinks and drinks and drinks, kreacher trembling by his side. there are regrets, so many regrets, and as he takes his last gasp, the horcrux safely stowed away, he can almost glimpse sirius smiling tenderly at him from a distant far-off shore, arms wide open and pride shining in his glance.
the black brothers: one too soft, the other too hardened. regulus and sirius, death eater and marauder, slytherin and gryffindor, blood faithful and blood traitor, weak and strong, strong and weak, soft and hard, hard and soft.